New York Knicks president Phil Jackson stirred the pot Thursday night (June 25), when he used the No. 4 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft for Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis.
The choice garnered immediate boos from the locals in attendance… and apparently, has team star Carmelo Anthony upset.
Melo was “furious”, people around him told ESPN, of Jackson’s decision to choose a 19-year-old that may not be ready to contribute immediately to the team.
“I [was] talking to my sources last night. All they said was, he’s furious, he’s livid. He feels completely hoodwinked and betrayed by Phil Jackson,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio. “He feels like he was lied to, like he was sold a bill of goods. And he’s willing to concede that he wanted his money. But he didn’t know it was going to be like this. He didn’t know it was going to be this bad. And, he can’t believe that his second season under the Phil Jackson regime, he has to look forward to it being worse than even last year was.”
Jackson said Friday (June 26) that he texted with Anthony on Thursday night about the pick, but didn’t reveal the tone of Anthony’s responses… and said Melo was considered when making the pick.
“Carmelo is always on my mind. He’s our favorite son. At this point in his life, that’s the way it should be. But the second-most important thing is what we do for this franchise,” Jackson said. “And that has to be a consideration. And I let Melo know that as we made this choice. He actually sat in during KP’s workout for a few minutes. … We anticipate it’s going to be [a significant period of development] regardless of whether we have a 19-year-old KP or a 19-year-old whomever. They’re still young players.”
Phil also called Porzingis a “once-in-a-lifetime” pick.
“When someone says to me [that] this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I have to be alert,” he said of what Knicks basketball adviser Clarence Gaines Jr. told him and how Porzingis eventually became a Knick. “And [I have to] consider that after he’s been in this business for as long as he has, I think he has as good of an eye as he has on talent.”